Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Delicious Pastries CD Release Show

Last Friday night at Spirit, I nearly felt over-saturated by all the great music that was in the air. The evening marked the release of Pittsburgh band Delicious Pastries' long-awaited sophomore CD Aleatoric Delay. But before the band went on, there were three other bands starting off the evening with solid blends of noisy, edgy rock and pop.

Butterbirds were playing as I arrived, but from what I could gather, they were only a song or two into their set. The four-piece was definitely catchy and tight, with a healthy sprinkle of quirk added to their songs via weird vocal tricks. Maybe it was the influence of the Pixies, maybe it was Of Montreal, either way I don't can't say definitively. But it was a good time.

Shaky Shrines were up next, getting a little heavier and a tad psychedelic. They kind of took me back to Plan 9, a psych band that came here back in the late '80s, since they're singer had a huge mess of hair and beard, they had a female keyboard player who sang back-up and they were filled out by several more clean-cut guys (relatively speaking). I saw a couple singles and a CD on the merch table but didn't get a chance to pick them up. They're things to look for at Sound Cat or Mind Cure.

The only other time I've seen Meeting of Important People was when they played stripped down and semi-acoustic, opening for Dean Wareham. It was good to see them in their full, electric glory. It's also easy to see why these guys have generated buzz around town beyond the indie club scene. They're really tight, like they've really worked meticulously on their arrangements. Before they got that far, they wrote some really strong songs too. Plus their onstage demeanor seemed really genuine and appreciative of the attention they were getting. A band with this kind of draw could turn into a bunch of big shots, but they seem like good eggs.

So how do you follow all of that? Between those three bands and a piece of pizza (recommended) and a few of the usual gin-and-club-sodas, I felt like I had reached sonic saturation. But leaving then would be have wrong.

Sometimes standing in front of the stage while the band sets up can give you an extra feeling of excitement for what's to come. Personally, this feeling dates back to a show at the Electric Banana in 1987 by Sonic Youth. This was back when the band didn't have a stage crew, so Lee and Thurston tuned all of the guitars themselves, onstage, studiously watching the tuner and then setting the instrument to the side before getting to the next one. That memory, along with memories of other bands chatting with audience members while tuning or setting up - it all increases the anticipation.

That same feeling was in the air as Delicious Pastries set up. (Incidentally, if you want to find out more about the band, here's my City Paper article on them from last week.) In part because it took awhile for this party to get started. The usual sextet had another guitarist sitting in (bringing the number of onstage six-stringers to four), plus another trumpet player and a quartet of ladies who added to the Exploding Plastic Inevitable feeling of the evening.

The video at the top of this entry comes from the start of the set, part of an extended introduction. The ladies stood at the back of the stage, in front of the video projection, for just the first song. (They videos continued for the duration of the set.) When it kicked in they each held up a glittery circle, which complemented drummer Jesse Ley's glittery pants. The visuals and that big start were both fairly epic and grandiose, living up to the suspense they had created.

Despite working in such close quarters the band looked really comfortable up there, not cramped at all. Plus all the instruments were pretty clear in the mix, so the wait was worth it. My only problem was feeling a little tired after a few songs. I didn't want to leave so I made my way to the back of the room, where they look of the band reminded me of the back over of The Velvet Underground and Nico. With music that feels closer to the higher points of Olivia Tremor Control, I left hoping that these guy will create some ripples beyond the Pennsylvania state border. There is a good quality video on Facebook, under the page for the record release show. Check that out for a few more visuals.

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